'Everyone is on Ozempic': Why Hollywood's newest weight loss trend is so concerning.

Ozempic. Chances are, you've heard of it. 

A medication designed for people with Type 2 diabetes, over the past several months the drug has gained massive traction, with talk of it being prescribed to celebrities for weight loss.

A once-a-week injection, the role of the drug is to balance blood sugar levels, making it an effective solution for long-term weight management for diabetics and obesity.

However, for celebrities, it's seemingly becoming the drug of choice for weight management.

While only a few celebrities have publicly admitted to taking Ozempic (or WeGovy - another popular brand of the drug), others have shared their views on the trend, with some even openly denying taking it.

Recently, comedian Chelsea Handler talked about the drug being used for weight loss in her own Hollywood circles, sharing her experience on the podcast Call Her Daddy.

She opened up about unknowingly being prescribed the drug, and why she decided to step away from it.

Speaking with host Alex Cooper, she shared, "So, my anti-aging doctor just hands it out to anybody. I didn't even know I was on it. She said, 'If you ever want to drop five lbs., this is good.'"

"I came back from a vacation and I injected myself with it. I went to lunch with a girlfriend a few days later, and she was like, 'I'm not really eating anything. I'm so nauseous, I'm on Ozempic,'" she said. 


"And I was like, 'I'm kind of nauseous too.' But I had just come back from Spain and was jet-lagged." 

After sharing with her friend that she was "on semaglutide", her friend explained that the drug she had named was, in fact, Ozempic.

"I'm not on it anymore. That's too irresponsible," Handler revealed. "I'm not gonna take a diabetic drug. I tried it, and I'm not gonna do that. That's not for me. That's not right for me."

"Everyone is on Ozempic. It's gonna backfire, something bad is gonna happen."

Watch: Psst... here's the viral Mikayla Nogueira TikTok video everyone is talking about. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Then, there's Elon Musk.

The Tesla CEO shared on Twitter last year that the "secret" to his recent weight loss was "fasting" and 'WeGovy”.

Earlier this year, Khloe Kardashian shut down discussions surrounding whether she was on the medication.

Responding to a fan, who wrote: "The fact that she uses diabetic medication to get this skinny is disturbing," the reality star said, "Let’s not discredit my years of working out. I get up 5 days a week at 6am to train. Please stop with your assumptions. I guess new year still means mean people."


Similarly, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kyle Richards responded to claims she was taking the weight loss drug, writing on Instagram, "I am NOT taking Ozempic. Never have."

Actress Jameela Jamil has also spoken out numerous times about the increased use of Ozempic in Hollywood, as well as the current supply shortages.


On Instagram, she wrote: "I have said what I have said about the potential harm of people using the diabetes medication for weight loss only." 

"I fear for everyone in the next few years. Rich people are buying this stuff off prescription for upwards of $1,000. Actual [people with] diabetes are seeing shortages. It's now a mainstream craze in Hollywood."


In the caption, she stated: "I'm seeing people really struggle because of this stuff. It has become the exact uncontrollable wave I thought it would become and I hope that I'm worried for no reason, and that my doctors who have been advising me on this stuff are wrong."

Of course - the popularity of the weight loss drug is not only thanks to the buzz it's received from celebrities. It's all over TikTok, too.

Scroll through the social media platform and you'll find thousands, upon thousands of TikTok videos touting the benefits of the drug. People even share their 'day on a plate' while taking it.

@scentsbykimmy Friends to end my day 🥰 #wia #fyp #viral #wiaiad #ozempic #ozempicweightloss #ozempicjourney ♬ original sound - scentsbykimmy

These videos are currently racking up millions of views, and primarily involve users giving updates on their weight loss, tips on how to use the medication and its side effects.

A common question that crops up in the comment section? How to access the drug.

While it's currently available on prescription from a general practitioner, last year in Australia, there was a nationwide shortage of the essential drug - meaning many people with diabetes and chronic health concerns couldn't access their medication.

At the time, the Therapeutic Goods Administration released a joint statement, urging health professionals to only prescribe and dispense the treatment for its approved use - to manage type 2 diabetes. 

The statement said the essential and continued care of people with type 2 diabetes needed to be prioritised, and warned those using the medication for weight management may not have their prescription filled.


As Mamamia found out, even those with diabetes were being turned away.

Now, a year on - the use of the drug for tackling weight is bigger and more widespread than ever.

So, where are we now?

Is the drug only adding to the stigma surrounding weight? And what does this mean for people suffering from diabetes? 

For many of Australia's health practitioners and pharmacists, it seems like a double-edged sword.

Diabetes medication and off-label use.

In Australia, diabetes medication currently falls under the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) for those with type 2 diabetes who meet specific criteria.

Mamamia spoke with Dr Preeya Alexander, who explained the difference between Australian and overseas regulations.

She said, "In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the medication for weight management in patients who are suffering from complications of obesity or being overweight, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes."

While there are studies that suggest this medication can be helpful with weight management, Dr Alexander said it is currently not on the PBS for this indication in Australia.

Meaning? For weight loss, it's classified as 'off-label use'.


"Currently in Australia, the medication is not funded for weight loss alone, although it can have a place in this area for those who meet specific criteria."

"It is important to point out that the studies have specific criteria for whom the medication might benefit, at which BMI it could be considered and with which co-morbidities."

According to Dr Alexander, the real concern with the current trend on social media is that it's being implied the medication can be used for any weight loss. This is not the case.

"Studies have looked at particular patients using this medication - including those with a BMI over 30 or a BMI over 27 with obesity-related diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure)."

"Social media influencers are suggesting this medication is for anyone who wants to lose weight when that is not the case. There are risks with any medication, and for any medication we consider risk versus benefit and the scales need to tip for benefit for us to consider prescribing something."

Read: Diabetes medication is not a magic bullet - and it comes with very real and very serious side effects. And it has been studied in particular groups of people who meet a particular criteria.

"As health professionals, we can consider the use of diabetes medication and other medications for weight loss if indicated, but we reserve it for patients who meet specific criteria and are likely to yield health benefits."


"This is critical: patients who are overweight or obese with related medical conditions (like high blood pressure or cholesterol issues) are at a higher risk of other conditions like strokes and heart attacks." 

For these patients, this medication can be life-altering.

"Some weight loss for these patients can significantly change health outcomes, reduce risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes etc - and so in those patients, after much discussion, we can consider use of these medications for weight loss."

How hard is it to get diabetes medication in Australia?

Carol is in her 50s and has type 2 diabetes. Last year, she wasn't able to access her medication for over a month.

A weekly injection, Carol was unable to even put her script into the pharmacist because there was no supply.

"I've got a pharmacy I've been going to for decades and they wouldn't even take my script," she shared.

"You keep thinking, it's coming in, it's coming in - and then you're just kind of left waiting. It's so unreliable. There's a lot of anxiety."

The prolonged period without the medication had major side effects for Carol - including blood sugar levels and digestive issues.

Dr Alexander said this also reflects what she's seeing in her general practice clinic.

"It's terrible. I have patients currently who cannot access the medication, and I have colleagues in the same boat."


"We have patients who meet the criteria for use - those with type 2 diabetes, for instance, who have poor glycaemic control over their current medication regime," she said.

"This medication could seriously positively change their health outcomes; improve their glucose control and induce some weight loss, which also helps fertility in PCOS and blood pressure management (if required)."

For patients like Carol, there is no substitution for her diabetes medication - she can either skip her weekly dose or opt for a lower dose. Or plead with the drug companies.

"Previously, you could go to a chemist and there were four different types of scripts. The PBS, you could get one if you're a pensioner and a private script where you paid full price for it. What my GP explained to me was that there's another injectable that is prescribed for weight loss, but it costs at least double what she does on a private script. So, that's why people have been using her."

However, one thing Carol makes clear is that she doesn't blame those taking it for weight management or other chronic health conditions. 

"If it works for people who are using it for other conditions such as weight management, then so be it. There should be enough for everybody that needs it. You can't really discriminate."

"I was once pre-diabetic, and I was struggling with my weight - and I wish I intervened because I wouldn't have ended up this way."


It's important to note that for a lot of people using this medication off-label, it's not just because of some TikTok trend. It's for the betterment of their health.

Mamamia spoke to Erin, who has been taking this specific brand of diabetes medication for years. 

She told Mamamia, "I'm not diabetic, but other medications I take for chronic conditions have caused me to gain about 25kg over the past three years. I'm unable to lose weight, but this diabetes medication has been a lifesaver for me. I'll be able to get back to my usual healthy weight and, as a result, will no longer be at risk of type 2 diabetes."

Shannon, a pharmacist, offers a perspective from the other side of the counter.

"Who am I to exclude the proportion of the population from a potentially life-saving medication? Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes - this is well documented. Patients who already have established disease are not more important than those trying to prevent it. It's unethical and I'm struggling with it."

TikTok and the prevalence of diet culture.

In 2023, diet culture is more prevalent than ever - and TikTok, like other social media platforms, is rampant with content that promotes weight loss, dieting and harmful behaviours. And it's extremely dangerous.

Body-positive influencer, blogger and registered nurse Lacey-Jade Christie said these viral TikTok videos and the current medication supply shortage reflect the very real pervasiveness of diet culture and body shaming. 


She said it is clear that 'fatphobia' in Australia is thriving.

"I have been a nurse for ten years and have witnessed fatphobia in the medical industry first-hand, both as a healthcare provider and as a patient, so I wish I could say that I'm surprised, but I'm not."

"I speak about medical fatphobia and doctors suggesting extreme weight loss measures on my platforms a lot because I want people to be as informed as possible when making decisions like having weight loss surgery or spending $150 on an injection, and I want them to be able to advocate for themselves."

"And every time I bring up the subject, I am inundated with people telling me their heartbreaking stories of doctors shaming them into treatment or making them feel guilty if they fail to lose weight."

Many TikTok users promoting the use of diabetes medication for weight management take followers on their transformation 'journey' - showing how the medication has suppressed their appetite, what they eat in a day and the changes in their body. 

These videos are getting thousands upon thousands of views.

"First of all, any kind of trend that sees people celebrating weight loss, in such an open manner on such a large scale, reinforces the notion that being fat and existing in a larger body is the worst way for a person to live," said Lacey-Jade.

"It tells an already vulnerable community that there is something wrong with them and that their weight can be 'fixed' with very expensive medication." 

@littlefreakcailyn doctors don’t see fat people as humans…. #ozempic #weightloss #fat ♬ As It Was but make it sad - Naina Singh

"Encouraging people to lose weight via extreme measures, such as surgery and medication, without also giving them access to psychological treatment and nutritional education is irresponsible and it may not work for everyone."

"It's also important to remember that people who suffer from disordered eating behaviour and eating disorders are so vulnerable to these kinds of 'quick fixes', but they don't help to heal a person's relationship with food. And if they 'fail' to lose weight or gain it back (which 96 per cent of dieters do) then they can end up back in a vicious cycle of self-hatred and disordered eating."

One of the most common queries that arises in the comment section of these viral videos is how to access the drug. 

One comment on a viral video reads, "Do you have to fit a criteria to qualify for this? I’m going to my GP [on] Friday to ask if I can be prescribed it."

Another comment reads: "My doctor won't give me a script. She said I need to see a specialist."

The user replies: "Try my weight loss clinic."

Dr Alexander said, "I think people need to realise that there are specific indications for this medication, and just because an influencer suggests it is great for weight loss - does not mean it is for everyone." 

"And let's be clear - not all weight loss is good. We are getting into dangerous territory again on social media where the suggestion is that health is defined by weight or BMI alone - and as a GP, I can tell you that is simply not true. I can also tell you that not all weight loss is good or 'healthy.'


As a platform, TikTok thrives off its perceived reliability, accuracy and authenticity. However, the reality is that social media platforms should not be used for health advice. It's crucial for us, as users, to avoid following this kind of advice from people online.

"Please consider that this medication is required by those in the community with complex health issues like type 2 diabetes, PCOS, high blood pressure and they cannot access it right now due to shortages. Please also consider this medication can have side effects," said Dr Alexander.

"For influencers to glamorise a medication that induces weight loss is not helping many of the issues we are seeing on the ground around body image and eating disorders," she concludes.

For help and support for eating disorders, contact the Butterfly Foundation‘s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) or email 

You can also visit their website, here.

Feature image: Getty; Instagram/@khloekardashian.

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